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Lawrence Tech students to demonstrate hydrogen racing kart in South Carolina

Release Date: March 27, 2009

Southfield, Mich. - More than a dozen Lawrence Tech students on the Element One team are traveling to Columbia, S.C., next week to demonstrate their racing kart that runs on a hydrogen fuel cell.

The kart will be one of the featured displays at the National Hydrogen Association Conference and Hydro Expo. Lawrence Tech students will participate in the opening ceremonies on Monday, March 30, and give demonstrations the following two days.

The Element One team plans to give other demonstrations when they return from South Carolina.

Last year the Lawrence Tech was one of six universities in the United States and Europe that qualified for the Formula Zero racing series. The first competition was held in Rotterdam in August 2008.

Lawrence Tech's "clean machine" with its unique carbon-fiber body took first place in the design competition and was featured in Popular Science. The body was designed by students in the transportation design program of the College of Architecture and Design at Lawrence Tech.

Each team received a Hydrogenics HyPM8 fuel cell to use, courtesy of the Rotterdam Climate Initiative. The student teams had to design and build karts with room for a driver as well as the fuel-cell package, a hydrogen tank, an electric motor and ultracapacitors to provide rapid acceleration. The kart is capable of speeds above 60 mph.

The Element One team reduced the weight of their kart by about 40 pounds by making structural components and the car's body with carbon fiber, a lighter, stronger replacement for steel that has been tested extensively at Lawrence Tech's Center for Innovative Materials Research.

The overall goal of Lawrence Tech's Element One student team, which takes its name from hydrogen's position on the periodic table, is to change the way people think about energy and sustainability through high-performance, zero-emissions racing. Team members hope to increase public awareness and industry support of hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Lawrence Tech's Element One team website is

Lawrence Technological University,, offers over 80 undergraduate, master's and doctoral degree programs in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management. Founded in 1932, the 4,500-student, private university pioneered evening classes 75 years ago, and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. Lawrence Tech's 102-acre campus is in Southfield, with education centers in Lansing, Livonia, Traverse City and Petoskey. Lawrence Tech also offers programs with partner universities in Mexico, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.